tire healthSo you just got your car washed and you insisted that your tires get that special shine and your dash to glow like your favorite glazed donuts, but is there a price to pay to look shiny? Read more to learn why you should ditch the shine.

Let’s break it down to the ridiculous so you can better empower yourself to know what’s making it shine and will it affect your wallet in the long run.

It’s very important to know what these products are made of, and what factors can potentially cause tires to brown or crack over time, either the aerosol or liquid forms.

Your Tires:

The best way to accelerate cracking and aging is to never wash your tires, and leave your vehicle out in the sun all day (which is probably never going to happen). Driving is actually a good thing when it comes to limiting cracking and dry rotting.

It is totally fine to give it a shine now and then to give you that warm fuzzy feeling, but the moment you drive off, guess what happens? You will forget about it and within a few days, you shrug it off and wait for the next time. Not taking into consideration that you not only wasted 2-3 dollars for an 8 hour shiny look but you’re compromising your tires. Ditch the shine!

Your Dash:

When it comes to your dashboard, it is pretty much the same scenario. Your dash gets the bulk of the sunlight heat through the windshield and oil based shine solutions will bake your dash like a dozen cookies. We all know that you don’t want to harm your vehicle’s interior, but you also want to make sure it’s clean. It can be particularly frustrating if you use a paper towel or other cleaning tool that leaves those telltales of small white flecks all over your dash. The dust may be gone but they’ve left an irritating remnant in their place! Dirty car interiors can be both gross and unhealthy, as they are a hotbed of germs that can make us sick. Just grab a baby wipe and wipe away followed with a wipe with a micro fiber cloth. Done, and done!!

In short, you should just opt out and ditch the shine.

I know, I know…You’ve never had a problem before and if you are a dye hard believer because there’s nothing like having a set of nice shiny tires to complement a clean car.

Here is the reality; tire dressings that come in aerosol cans are bad for your tires. Yes, you heard me correctly. If the tire dressing comes in an aerosol can, it will do more harm than good for your tires. Not to mention that petroleum based tire dressing is down right not good for your tires.

This is because many of the chemicals used to allow the solution be to properly contained in an aerosol can are bad for your tires. What this does is it causes your tires to turn brown over time and also develop cracks. Ultimately, decreasing performance and increasing tires replacement cost, Ouch!! Simply put, Petroleum is not a good idea when it comes to your tires. This can also causes over spray to get on your wheels and fenders, which is not good either. On top of it all, if you drive your car too soon after application, the dressing will sling onto your cars paint.

If you really feel strongly about giving your tires a shine, then your best option is going to be a water based tire dressing.

If you just can’t bring yourself to ditch the shine, here are the facts you need to know:

When using products in general, it’s important to follow the instructions on the bottle, you should be fine.

Some people swear against using aerosol (petroleum based) products. I’ve found the most important factor is to prioritize removing tire dressing after every wash before reapplying. Some are easier to remove than others. I haven’t found evidence of any significant problems with these products if used properly.

There are dozens of different products that you can apply to achieve the shine you want, but not all are made equal. They pretty much fall into two categories of water-based or non-water based (oil or solvent based).

Using oil and solvent-based products

There are plenty of good water-based options to choose from and they are much easier to wash off as compared to oil-based products. You don’t have to worry about it interacting with the paint if you accidentally over spray some of it on a trim piece or fender. If you really care about babying your car, I would opt for the water based professional products vs. the Armor All tire foams and sprays you see all the time. These higher quality products simply do a better job, and usually last a lot longer.

If you choose to use an oil or solvent-based product, the benefits are that the shine usually lasts longer. Sometimes these products offer a little more protection when rolling through dirty rainwater, for example.

Petroleum Based

Out of all the products I’ve read up on, petroleum-based products contain the harshest chemicals. These products will probably do the most damage to painted wheels or surfaces if applied incorrectly. Many of these are cheaper aerosol-based foams, but not always. Armor All, Blue Magic Tire Wet, and several others contain petroleum and are also highly flammable.

They are also a lot cheaper most of the time, and like always, you get what you pay for.

Silicon-Based Dressings

When it comes to silicon, the good news is that many of these compounds can provide a pretty good layer of protection to your wheel in between washes. The key to silicone is making sure you remove the product when washing since they won’t wash away as easily.

So why are my tires brown?

Based on my research, this usually has less to do with tire dressing than you may think. Tires are made with an anti-ozonant substance that can make it to the surface as your tire ages. This can cause them to turn brown.

The good news is that with proper cleaning and scrubbing you can usually remove this brown appearance before dressing them. It’s almost like exfoliating dead skin cells, and something that becomes more important to do as a tire ages.

Preventing tires from turning brown when using tire dressing

Much of the time, the brown appearance is just due to the fact that your tires have dirt trapped on them. This can accelerate if you don’t let your tire dressing dry before taking your car out for a spin (which I’ll admit I’ve done a time or two).

Keeping dirt off

Dirt and brake dust can stick to some silicone-based products since even when dry. Solvent and silicon-based products can create a very tacky surface for dust to stick to. A good water-based dressing (that also repels dirt) may make more sense if you drive in a pretty dusty area like I do.

In Conclusion

Just be sure to read product reviews of certain products, as well as the label if you decide to use water-based or petroleum-based tire shines. But at the end of the day, it’s better to just ditch the shine! No one really cares if your tires or dash are shiny, only you do!!